The Los Angeles Times editorial board highlighted the problematic nature and inherent tragedy of a nation that can shrug off a murder-suicide as “just another incident in the daily parade of gun violence that defines contemporary America.”
Following reports of shots fired near the center of UCLA’s campus on June 1, “hundreds of heavily armed officers” reported to the scene. According to the Associated Press, “the response to the shooting was overwhelming,” with “teams of officers in helmets and bulletproof vests looking for victims and suspects.” Police later announced the shooting was a murder-suicide that left two dead in a small office space on campus.
The LA Times editorial board lamented the fact that people in the U.S. have come to expect “that a shooting on a college campus was going to turn out to be a mass tragedy,” and that when that turns out not to be the case, “America shrugs.” The board noted that, while “Ultimately, we should be glad this was a tragedy for fewer people than” originally feared, the fact “that society will just shrug this off is tragic in its own way.” The board concluded, “that the nation accepts gun violence as commonplace … is the continuing tragedy.” From the LA Times’ June 1 editorial:
The massive police and emergency response proved unnecessary, but there was no way the LAPD could have known that when the panicked call came in. And this is where we are – the anticipation that a shooting on a college campus was going to turn out to be a mass tragedy, and that a major city’s law enforcement response is geared up for that eventuality.
In this case, it was only two dead. Murder-suicide in a small office. And so America shrugs. Just another incident in the daily parade of gun violence that defines contemporary America. And so two families, and two circles of friends, and a community of students and faculty are left to their grief, and their confusion, and maybe a touch more fear than usual at the recognition that violence can and will strike so close to home.
Ultimately, we should be glad this was a tragedy for fewer people than feared when the phrase “campus shooting” first popped up on screens. But that society will just shrug this off is tragic in its own way. That the nation accepts gun violence as commonplace, as a reasonable trade-off for some romanticized view of every gun owner as a soldier against tyranny, is the continuing tragedy.
And so the deaths will mount.